Companies featured in this edition of the newsletter: IMNP
As the first quarter came to a close this week, the major averages enjoyed another round of weekly gains. Fed Chair Janet Yellen spoke before the Economic Club of New York this past week, which has investors sitting on their hands at the beginning of the week. Her remarks were interpreted as dovish and echoed her recent comments, which was a relief for the market. The Dow finished this week up 277 points or 1.6% at 17,793 from 17,516 last week, and it is up 2.1% for the year. The Nasdaq finished this week at 4,915 up 141 points or 3.0% from 4,774 last week, and it is down -1.9% for the year. The S&P 500 finished the week at 2,072 up 37 points or 1.8% from 2,036 last week, and it is up 1.4% for the year. Lastly, the Russell 2000 finished the week at 1,118 up 38 points or 3.5% from 1,080 last week, and it is down -1.6% for the year.
There was a lot of economic news this week, and to start off the Personal Income and Spending report for February was released to little fanfare as the report came in right around expectations. Income increased 0.2% month over month, spending increased 0.1%, and the core PCE Index, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.1%. The personal savings rate edged up to 5.4% from 5.3%. The Federal Reserve is looking for 2.0% year over year inflation as expressed by the core PCE Index, and following this report; the index remains unchanged at 1.7% year over year. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence index increased to 96.2 in March from an upwardly revised 94.0 in February. Initial claims for the week ending March 26 rose by 11,000 to 276,000. Continuing claims for the week ending March 19 were 2.173 million, down 7,000 from the upwardly revised prior week level of 2.180 million. The final reading for the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey for March increased to 91.0 from the preliminary reading of 90.0.
Continuing with economic news, the March Employment report showed above consensus headline growth coupled with an increase in hourly earnings after last month’s report disappointed on the earnings front. This time around hourly earnings growth matched expectations, lifting the year over year rate to 2.3% from 2.2% in February. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 215,000, private sector payrolls increased by 195,000, and the unemployment rate was 5.0% versus 5.0% in February. March average hourly earnings were up 0.3% after being down 0.1% in February. Over the last 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen 2.3% versus 2.2% in February. The average workweek was unchanged at 34.4, while March manufacturing workweek slipped to 40.6 hours from 40.7 hours in February. The labor force participation rate was 63.0% versus 62.9% in February. Total construction spending was down 0.5% in February, which was worse than the briefing.com estimate that called for an uptick of 0.2%. The weakness in February was driven by public construction spending, which decreased 1.7% on the back of a 2.8% drop in residential spending.
U.S. light vehicle sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 17.54 million units in February versus a SAAR of 16.40 million units a year ago. Total domestic sales dipped to 14.14 million SAAR in February from 14.15 million SAAR in January. Domestic truck sales rose slightly to 8.63 million SAAR from 8.62 million SAAR in January. On a year over year basis, domestic car sales were up 3.6% while domestic truck sales were up 9.2%.
No market movers reported earnings this week.
No Conferences of note will be taking place this week.
Immune Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: IMNP), a biopharmaceutical company that applies a personalized approach to treating and developing novel, highly targeted antibody therapeutics to improve the lives of patients with inflammatory diseases and cancer announced financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2015. Immune filed its Annual Report on Form 10-K for fiscal year 2015 on March 30, 2016.
2015 was an important year for Immune as they formed a new leadership team based in New York City at the Alexandria Center for Life Science. Several key executives with successful track records at both large pharmaceutical and biotech companies have joined Immune, significantly improving their ability to execute their business plan. As a result, Immune has been able to achieve several notable milestones.
Given the scope of Immune’s development stage portfolio, they have initiated the establishment of a subsidiary with a focus on immuno-oncology therapeutic assets and technologies, allowing the Company to leverage the breadth of its new management team and to access financing opportunities in this vast area of unmet need.
Immune reported a loss attributable to common stockholders of $8.2 million, or $0.27 per share, for the quarter ended December 31, 2015, compared to a loss attributable to common stockholders of $7.0 million, or $0.34 per share, for the quarter ended December 31, 2014. For the year ended December 31, 2015, Immune reported a loss attributable to common stockholders of $24.1 million, or $0.90 per share, compared to a loss attributable to common stockholders of $24.4 million, or $1.46 per share, for the year ended December 2014.
R&D expenses increased by $0.9 million during the quarter ended December 31, 2015 to $2.5 million compared with $1.6 million during the quarter ended December 2014. For the year ended December 31, 2015, R&D expenses increased by $0.3 million to $5.9 million compared with $5.6 million during the year ended December 31, 2014. The increase in R&D was mainly due to an increase in outsourced consulting services related to the Phase II clinical trials of bertilimumab. Additionally, R&D related staff increased, positioning Immune to fully execute on its R&D programs in 2016.
General and administrative expense increased by approximately $1.2 million during the quarter ended December 31, 2015 to $3.6 million, compared with $2.4 million during the quarter ended December 31, 2014, due to higher payroll expense as a result of the move of the Company’s headquarters from Israel to New York during fiscal 2015 and the hiring of additional U.S. employees. For the year ended December 31, 2015, general and administrative expense decreased by approximately $0.9 million, or 9%, to $9.8 million, compared with $10.7 million during the year ended December 2014. The decrease was due to a reduction in stock compensation expense of $2.6 million due to vesting of shares issued to consultants in 2014, partially offset by increased payroll expense due to moving the Company’s headquarters and the hiring of additional employees.
Dr. Daniel Teper, CEO of Immune Pharmaceuticals Inc., mentioned that he is pleased and gratified with the major clinical and organizational accomplishments during 2015. He also said that they expect 2016 to be an important year for Immune, with several anticipated data milestones for the Company’s product candidates, while they seek to unlock the potential value of their pipeline through financing and strategic partnering opportunities of specific asset groups.
Immune finished the week at $0.47.
A profile, description, or other mention of a company in the newsletter is neither an offer nor solicitation to buy or sell any securities mentioned. While we believe all sources of information to be factual and reliable, in no way do we represent or guarantee the accuracy thereof, nor the statements made herein. THE READER SHOULD VERIFY ALL CLAIMS AND DO ITS OWN DUE DILIGENCE BEFORE INVESTING IN ANY SECURITIES MENTIONED. This publication accepts compensation from companies that it features. This newsletter should not be regarded as an independent publication. Our editors may, from time to time, acquire positions in the companies that they cover. This could represent a conflict of interest. The CEOcast newsletter shall be under no obligation to inform readers about its trading activities. CEOcast's editors reserve the right to buy or sell shares in these companies at any time. The following companies, featured in this newsletter, have compensated CEOcast: Immune Pharmaceuticals, ten thousand dollars cash per month.